How to transport your surfboard safely to the beach

Last updated:

Isn’t it weird how sometimes you drop your surfboard and the board survives without even a scratch? Then, other times, an accidental bump or tap on a wall or floor creates a major fracture on the deck, nose, rail or tail.

Transporting a surfboard from point A to point B is a hazardous affair. Fiberglass, polyurethane, epoxy and resin are strong but fragile. Surfboard socks and bags are great inventions, but we surfers are lazy and impulsive. When the wind swings offshore and the local Surfline cam shows a peeling wall or two, we drop everything—including, sometimes, our surfboard—in a manic rush to the beach.

Surfers are an interesting subspecies of humans. We, who ride and obsess over waves. If only we were so obsessed about caring for our gear, then sites like would, perhaps, not exist. Our gear would last forever—or until it is decimated by the ocean itself.

But we’re here, and you’re here, so let’s work together to create a new reality—one where surfboards and surfers live together in harmony. The waxxed and the unwaxxed reunited with a common purpose: to bury rails on walls and find shelter beneath curls. A life committed to playing in the ocean, from whence we emerged as little fishy creatures some 385 million years ago.

Here are tips for transporting your surfboard safely to the beach.

Slippery fingers make for broken boards

You’re aware of the potential damage the sun can inflict on your epidermis. Go look at an older surfer’s face (or look in the mirror). That’s radiation damage you see right there. So it is important to create a barrier between you and the great life-giving sun goddess who resides in the sky. However, slip slop slap can result in slip slop crash if you’re not careful. Slippery fingers don’t grip well to surfboard rails.

After applying sunscreen, wipe your hands with a towel. This will help ensure that your fingertips grip tight despite your face being lathered in SPF 50. We recommend mineral zinc over sunscreen—and always choose reef-safe products, even at beach breaks. Zinc is less slippery than the oily creams we all used to use. Go for a shade of tan to look like a freshly bronzed god or goddess in your own right.

Get quality racks

If you’ve ever been to Bali, you’ll quickly have become familiar with the humble bike rack. While those in Bali are of the homemade variety, constructed of steel tubes and duct tape padding, you can purchase quality racks from many companies.

It is worthwhile paying more for a set of solid, well-crafted racks. Whether you’re riding a bicycle, a moped or a bigger bike, there’s nothing worse than a rack coming loose en route. The crash of the board, the danger to others, and the accident potential if your board remains attached to the other rack.

Get quality surfboard tie-down straps 

If you drive a car to the beach, you probably have roof racks installed on your car. There’s always the temptation to slide your board inside, but if you’re short on space or like to keep wax off your upholstery, then it is likely that you will tie your board to the roof. If you have a longboard, then you have no option but to strap it up above.

Have you ever heard a horror story about a surfer who used bungee cords to transport their surfboard to the beach? Long story short, bungee cords are not your friend. Boards coming unstuck on a freeway: this is the stuff of slow-motion nightmares.

You need a tie-down and a quality one at that. We’re big fans of surf brand Ho Stevie. They make premium-quality surf gear affordable. Their tie down straps for your surfboard will keep your stick stuck regardless of how fast or far you travel.

Get these straps on Amazon by clicking here

If you don’t have roof racks installed on your car you could always get a set of soft surfboard car racks – you know the padded “thru-the-door” type. While they may not be optimal for rainy conditions, when condensation sometimes seeps through, they’re amazing if you want a temporary solution or don’t want to install permanent racks on your car.

Get the padded surfboard car racks on Amazon by clicking here

Use a surfboard bag

If you really want to look after your board between your home and the beach, then the obvious solution is to use a board bag. There are different types, ranging from socks to heavy-duty coffin bags. Our recommendation is to have a lightweight everyday bag and a hardcore bag for long-distance travel.

If you skate or walk to the beach, then a bag with a handle can relieve pressure on your arms and shoulders. If you do slide your board into the car, a bag can keep your car clean.

Pay attention

Too often, we’re distracted by our phones, other people, and the thoughts in our head. When your attention drifts, mistakes are made. So the final tip in this article is to improve your attention control. Some call this state mindfulness. Being aware of this moment.

Developing focus and presence can be approached as you might build muscle. Meditative practices are beneficial here because they teach us how to zoom out with situation awareness as well as zooming in to focus deeply on a specific task.

When you’re traveling to the beach, you might get distracted trying to view a surf cam, or when texting a friend. You might check out that beautiful stranger in your rearview mirror. You could open a muesli bar or send an emoji. And in all of these situations, you might not make it to the beach. Be clear, lucid, and aware. This approach will get you there—safely.